Sustainability Program Helps Farmers' Bottom Lines

Rice is a versatile grain, providing nourishment at an affordable price for consumers worldwide. Riceland, the world’s largest miller and marketer of rice and a major soybean processor, is on a mission to help farmers feed the world in a delicious and sustainable way.

Riceland is a farmer-owned cooperative, serving 5,500 members in Arkansas and Missouri. In fiscal year 2022, the cooperative’s revenue topped $1.2 billion from selling rice and soy products nationwide and in global markets.

For more than 100 years, the co-op has helped multiple generations of farmers grow and sell its products while providing resources it would not be able to obtain individually. And as Riceland looks toward the future and a new generation of producers, sustainability is top-of-mind.

Recently, Riceland has increased its sustainability involvement within other supply chain organizations and trade associations to ensure its members are represented and become knowledgeable about sustainability in agriculture.

Through its involvement, Riceland has worked to create strategic partnerships. Paired with new advancements in technology, the co-op recently launched its farmer-driven sustainability program, Riceland Carbon Ready™.

The program will help participating members utilize technology to capture data, improving agronomic efficiency and environmental stewardship. The data, which will be collected on a field-by-field basis, will then be evaluated and leveraged to help members make more of a profit.

“Riceland’s Carbon Ready program has the potential to improve crop yields, target specific applications, reduce costs and prepare farmers to engage in the evolving carbon and environmental asset markets, which will provide a huge benefit to our members,” said Jason Brancel, president and CEO of Riceland.

In addition to its carbon ready program, new technology is on the horizon to help farmers grow more rice per acre in an environmentally friendly way. USDA has also created climate smart grants, partnering with customers and Riceland’s members to help achieve their unique sustainability goals.

New programs and objectives are advanced through teamwork, and Riceland values its 80-year partnership with CoBank. The last few years have been challenging due to volatile commodity markets, and as a fellow co-op and ag lender, CoBank understands the business and potential hurdles.

In 2022, Riceland’s revolving loan needs nearly doubled due to inflation and the war in Ukraine, increasing from $350 to $600 million in just nine months. CoBank was able to facilitate their needs quickly and efficiently.

“When we structure a deal, we are also able to bring in other Farm Credit associations, which is so beneficial and allows us to focus on our business. We value our relationship with CoBank and are excited for the future,” Brancel said.